Committee to work on reform
Assistant News Editor
The Student Representative Assembly’s (SRA) recently-formed ad-hoc Committee on Democratic Reform is aiming to find a suitable change to the MSU’s system of representation.
Initially brought forth at the 2009 MSU General Assembly by SRA-Humanities member Chris Erl, the project is being supported by MSU president Matthew Dillon-Leitch and Bylaws and Procedures Comissioner Jean-Marc Metrailler.
The idea behind the committee is to create a body that could more effectively bring concrete policy changes to the SRA and even the Board of Directors, “as opposed to just the ideas,” said Erl. “[The committee] could look at different ideas, come up with proposals, have Bylaws and Procedures look at it, and then ultimately go to the Assembly to make a decision
The structuring of the committee, which will include the MSU Speaker, the chief returning officer (CRO), the MSU president, the bylaws and procedures commissioner, two SRA members and an MSU member-at-large, has been in the works since November. Neither the Speaker nor CRO will hold voting privileges.
A proposal was brought to the table in December but sent for revision over the holidays, and was subsequently brought to life at the SRA meeting immediately following the presidential election.
Erl said the committee would focus on issues such as the number of seats in the SRA as well as the process by which the three vice presidents are elected.
Some members want to see that number increased by 25 seats. As for the vice-presidents, they are currently elected by the SRA, as opposed to the student body as a whole.
“The old argument is that the vice-presidents should not be elected by the students because the students are incapable of choosing somebody that’s going to deal with the finances of the organization,” said Erl. He continued to say that they should be democratically elected by the 20,000 full-time undergraduate students that make up the body of the MSU.
Dillon-Leitch is also in support of reform, saying “I think the structure of the MSU has changed over time . . . there’s a lot of different elements of the governing structure that are out of date or not necessarily the best practice anymore.”
The president said he hopes that the committee will find a way “to make [the MSU] more democratic and more efficient.”
One potential consideration of the new committee is the concept of having one member of faculty society executives sitting on the SRA, be it the president or another designated executive.
“We need to accept the fact that as an organization that we are not the be-all and end-all on campus,” said Dillon-Leitch, who would like to see the Assembly “take the leaders of those organizations and bring them together,” because “the system we have right now does not involve all of the important stakeholders.”
This marks the first time that an ad-hoc committee has been formed in several years. The committee will be dissolved at the end of the term unless the SRA chooses to incorporate its permanence into the MSU bylaws.